School Fines Parents $370 for Kids' Absences

Invoice

Have you been dreaming of a much-needed vacation? If so, you might want to get a note from your child's school that gives the thumbs-up for them to go. Seriously. Faye Jones and her husband, Karl, have to pay a school fine for taking their kids on their honeymoon.

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Typically when people marry, they receive a monetary gift from those who wish them well -- not pay some crazy fine for wanting to celebrate their nuptials with their own children.

Faye and Karl are still dumbfounded they have to pay over $368 (technically £240, as they live across the pond) because they wanted their 9-year-old twin boys, Joshua and Mitchell, to join them on their honeymoon in the Canary Islands. Rather than lie and write a sick note excusing the boys for a week, Faye gave her boys' school a week's notice and filled out the required form. Faye says the school told her they would notify her if there was any trouble but never did ... until two weeks after they returned -- when the school hit them with a fine.

Apparently, these "school-term holiday fines" in England have been in effect since 2013. Children are given permission to miss school under "exceptional circumstances," and only if the head teacher gives the okay. In addition to the potential $92 fine (that's £60) per child, parents can also face a heftier fine -- including up to three months in prison, if prosecuted.

Come again?

It's also worth a mention that three other children were in the Canary Islands with this family and never received a fine (they attend different schools).

More from The Stir: Dad's Notes Explaining Why His Kids Are Late for School Are Sheer Brilliance (PHOTOS)

No one will deny how important school is, but my goodness, we're talking about parents here. Seeing as Mitchell and Joshua had near-perfect attendance last year (96 percent sounds pretty good to me), school officials could've easily given these parents a pass. And since when do parents need an okay from school officials to take their kids on vacation, or anywhere else for that matter? For heaven's sake, these parents got married! Whether the kids attend a public school or receive private education (just keep my money and hush), there's no reason why a mother or a father needs to go through the schools to get its blessing to do what they want with their kid.

Am I the only one who thinks this is backwards?

All of this sounds like hogwash to me. While I don't agree with such a stringent policy -- especially one where I, the mother, need to get the head teacher's permission (girl, bye) -- there has to be a better way to encourage higher attendance. Hello, did these officials not look up Mitchell and Joshua's 96 percent attendance record?

I feel bad for Faye and Karl, as their special day has been stained by this incident. With family coming from as far as Australia, they likely just wanted to have their wedding cake and enjoy time with loved ones in a tropical place. This is such a shame on so many levels. Weddings are expensive as is, and people certainly don't need some crazy fine because they want their children with them.

If I were leaving the country, you bet your English pound I would take my kids with me. Does this mean parents should rearrange their wedding and honeymoon plans to appease school systems? I don't know how it is across the pond, but during our summer, weddings are expensive here.

This is so wrong and makes you wonder what's next.

 

 

Image via ©teo73/iStock

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